Cigars for a Celebration

In life, we will pass through endless liminal rituals and milestones as we trudge our path of happy destiny. These include the first kiss (and the rest), our 16th, 18th or 21st birthdays – depending on the cultural background – weddings, and divorces perhaps. We mark these occasions by overdoing it, and alcohol tends to be the go to for that. However now and again, sensible people turn to cigars.

I am not one to need a good excuse to have a cigar but I understand why it is seen as something for remarkable occasions in a way that perhaps wine is not. The more people measure their masculinity by how fast (or how much) they can pour booze down their gullet, the more cigars remain perched on a more dignified pedestal. The slow burn of the tobacco forces the cigar to be contemplative, restorative and the most sophisticated way to signal in life’s most important moments.

Therefore we should pick carefully. Not all cigars are created equal but neither would I recommend heading to a tobacconist and just buying any limited-edition cigar in the expectation that they will always be better for the party. Here is my list of cigars that are both widely available and lend themselves to the most memorable of life’s moments, happy smoking!

Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchill

I smoked this cigar at my wedding. It’s the big brother of the Short Churchill which is another fantastic every day smoke. Call it primogenital but the Wide Churchill wins out at celebratory occasions. Not too strong but plenty of smoke and should see you through a long night. It also epitomizes the stereotype of the large stogie of a Bateman cartoon, weighing in at 55 ring gauge and five and a quarter inches.

Ramon Allones Specially Selected

As much as our dear Proprietor might protest, this is one of the best cigars on the market. Don’t believe me? Just ask the good folk at Hunters & Frankau, who believe that for a well-timed, well-balanced smoke, you will not find better. The Specially Selected is and always has been my go to cigar when I wish to avoid disappointment. It is a robusto size, just shy of five inches and with a 50-ring gauge is easy to store in your breast pocket and works well for wetting a baby’s nose, just not around the baby if you please.

Montecristo No 2

This should really be the first cigar you ever smoke, a celebratory moment if there ever was one. This is a universally praised cigar for its consistency, well-rounded taste, good looks and a stalwart of the Montecristo family. This was the cigar I smoked every day without fail in Cuba and therefore has a place in my heart as a cigar to smoke when on holiday too. 

Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No.2

Whether you’ve progressed to the legal smoking age, graduated, gained or left a job, divorced, the sun’s out, anything really, the Epicure No.2 is a remarkably reliable companion for an old hand with cigars or a first-time smoker. It is mild-mannered throughout, however can pick up some spice towards the final third, but not enough to warrant concern. Do not confuse it with being boring or uninventive because of its wide accessibility, in fact that is high praise, as no one wants to smoke a cigar that is a disappointment, so any cigar that is consistently trustworthy, adds its name to Habanos folklore.

Cohiba Siglo VI

The Gran Reserva version of this cigar is regarded by many as the finest cigar ever made. This may partly be down to its lineage. The Siglo VI is the last of Cohiba’s Siglo range, all of which have their own discernable vitola (shape) and taste. The Siglo VI is the largest (52 ring gauge and 5 7/8 inches) and arguably the best tasting – though I will remain on the fence on this because the entire range has nuance and entirely depends on circumstance. Without doubt, the Siglo VI is the most convivial, if the Wide Churchill is best shared out to the wedding party, this would be for the groom. This cigar is special, Cohiba always has a seniority over the other marques and the Siglo VI holds its own against not only the rest of Cohiba’s roster, but also most other cigars, limited, regional or regular, that come out of Cuba.